WHY IS THE PANAMA GEISHA SO SPECIAL?
by David Muñoz on Apr 11, 2023
If you have not tried this coffee, you will surely wonder what makes it so special and why it reaches that price in the market? With such an extensive variety of coffees to choose from, what exactly is worth the price of Geisha coffee ? And for that matter, is it really worth shelling out that dough for it?
Let's try to decipher the enigma...
Where does Geisha coffee come from?
This variety was originally collected from coffee forests in Ethiopia in the 1930s. From there, it was shipped to Lyamungu in Tanzania and then brought to the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Central America in 1953. It was distributed throughout Panama in the 1960s, after being recognized for its tolerance to coffee rust. However, the branches of the plant were fragile so not much was planted.
The coffee rose to fame in 2005 when the Peterson family from Boquete, Panama, participated in the "Best of Panama" contest and auction. That same year it also broke auction records selling for $20 a pound. Today, 15 years later, the obsession with this very special coffee causes the best batches to sell for $800 a pound.
The terms Gesha and Geisha are used interchangeably, as there is no established translation of the Ethiopian dialects into English. Coffee was first registered in with the spelling "Geisha", and has remained so for many decades. Also originally harvested in Ethiopia in a region near a mountain called Gesha, many in the coffee industry have preferred to rescue that spelling to avoid confusion with Japanese Geishas.
why is it so good?
Simply put, you won't find a coffee on the face of the earth with a more diverse and delightful flavor profile. Depending on the exact location where the beans are grown and the methods with which they were processed, dramatic differences can be observed in the most prominent flavors. It can have pronounced notes of mango, berry, guava, citrus, papaya, peach, jasmine, and pineapple. A predominantly sweet and fruity experience in all cases, but nonetheless a potentially different experience each time. Therefore, Panama Geisha coffee beans are the types of beans that you can keep discovering and experimenting with indefinitely.
Why reach that price?
They are comparatively expensive for two reasons. First of all, they require very specific growing conditions and are extremely demanding for both growing and harvesting. Secondly, the demand for the best Panama geisha beans in the world has been growing steadily for some time now. Geisha coffee from the best producers has become an exclusive and revered product, which in turn translates into ever higher prices.
So let's just say that the perfect time to try this coffee beans is right now. The longer you wait, the more its price will go up.